Thursday, 30 April 2009

What Have I Been Doing?

Recording and mixing, mixing and recording, and pretty much all of it other people's stuff, mainly me making a CD of the high school kids doing their parts from the musical Footloose that our school just finished.  I'm recording drums (4 mics), bass guitar, electric guitar, saxophones, flutes, percussion instruments, and all sorts of vocals, often by heavily-trained kids with high-powered voices.  It's plenty fun.  The songs, as recorded, will sound much more rock 'n roll than Broadway.

 A lot of that comes from how they are mixed.  Put turned-up drums, bass and many multi-layered guitars all over something, with some heavy-handed piano, and it tends to rock out more than it does when the instruments are plunking along docilely behind a stage full of performers singing.  Lots of work.  Very educational for me (I have recently tried out my equipment in many ways, as I have recorded direct-in from wireless microphones fed into a sound board, I have mic-ed any number of things, including the room sounds and over-all band sound at the musical, and also used MIDI data from electric piano, and fed instruments such as keyboards direct in.)

Here is Holding Out for A Hero.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Requiem and Flu

This weekend is shaping up to be pretty busy, which is a hard state for me to achieve, being me, and living around here.  The music madness kinda started Wednesday, with me borrowing a couple of mics to add to mine, and setting up my recording stuff at Rick's house to record some files of us playing some of my songs.  The rhythm was sloppy, but the vibe comes through in a way carefully-recorded stuff cannot usually provide.  Check some of it out here.  

  Then I went to the local open stage, despite being very tired, and performed a bunch of stuff.  Acoustic guitars were not in evidence (despite there being things like drum kits, amps, keyboards and electric guitars around), so I ended up having to drink Guinness (I had two, neither of which I had to pay for) and sat back to let a steady parade of people play my acoustic.  Kurtis played stuff from Metallica's Kill 'Em All, which is superfast and thrashy, and sounded quite oddly compelling played on an acoustic guitar. 

Friday evening after getting pizza delivered to the school for the yearbook kids, I hung out at home watching old episodes of Mr. Show With Bob and David, and did very little, sensing I'd be in a non-stop spiral of recording.  The music teacher had quite easily wheedled me into recording "Brahm's Requiem, which we're doing at St. Paul's United Church."  I agreed to stop in at the last rehearsal on Saturday before lunch to try out the mic placement (I ended up only having one mic to place, though I saw mics lying around at the church, which I will steal to use for the performance).  I got to see how things sounded, and will then go again Sunday night to get the actual show recorded.  I really had no idea I'd be recording all of this kind of thing at the rehearsal.  Afterward, the music teacher and one of the bass singers in the chorus and I went out for brunch.  Bob, the bass, chatted with us for quite a while, and eventually I started to get the sense that he'd worked as a teacher.  I asked him if he had taught, and he said "Yeah, I don't have to do that anymore."  I asked his last name and when he answered I realized I'd spent a couple of hours chatting and eating breakfast with my grade 9 History teacher.

Then it was to the family homestead, where the kids had the flu and tempers and fevers were alike running higher than usual.  Despite this, things went ok.  My dad had a new gizmo for hooking his laptop up to cars' computers.  My van is generally illin', so I was curious to see what the laptop would tell him. He sat in the passenger's seat with his laptop, and as I drove, he checked the speedometer and tachometer on his laptop's screen, calling out information about the richness of fuel mixture to the engine (too lean on both sensor banks), and telling me how fast I was driving (which was fun, because I haven't had a working speedometer since July).  He had the laptop set to "log" the trip, which meant it recorded the whole journey. Then he saved it and back at the house, played back the trip, with the speedometer, tachometer and all the other engine sensors re-enacting our little trip up the highway.